Pirelli finishes 18-inch F1 tyre development programme
Monday’s tyre test at France’s Paul Ricard circuit heralded the conclusion of Pirelli’s initial development programme for 18-inch Formula 1 tyres. Alpine’s Daniil Kvyat was in the seat for the wet test, finishing a programme disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The flagship global motorsport series will switch to the new low-profile tyres in 2022, shifting away from the 13-inch tyres currently used. Pirelli calls this move a technical revolution and has devoted an intense period of research and development to the change, with indoor and outdoor testing. The manufacturer will now tweak the tyre based on 2022-specification car testing.
ZC Rubber details 5G Smart Factory concept to be installed at pilot plant
Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber) is planning to use 5G technology to create a Smart Factory platform for the tyre industry. China’s largest tyre manufacturer says the replicable 5G Smart Factory platform will “promote data network platform innovation and data-driven production process reengineering.” It also says the initiative will enhance “core competitiveness and corporate value through network collaboration, flexible production, and service extension.” The project is currently “in progress and has not yet been officially implemented,” but ZC Rubber plans to implement the concept in its pilot “Future Factory” which is currently under construction. It ultimately wants to extend the technological approach by applying it to more of its factories. ZC Rubber’s headline forecasts indicating the Smart Factory’s predicted benefits include a 15 per cent increase in production efficiency and a need for 70 per cent fewer staff versus existing tyre factory models.
BKT-supported Tractor of the Year 2022 announces winners
Agricultural tyre specialist BKT has supported the 2021 edition of the Tractor of the Year Awards, presented at the EIMA trade fair in Bologna. It is the second time the manufacturer has sponsored the awards, which recognise the most innovative and cutting-edge tractors on the market.
MTS demonstrates evolving approach to complex UK tyre wholesale market
The complexity of the UK tyre wholesale sector has certainly ramped up considerably thanks to what may be termed an almost perfect storm of external factors relating both to the Covid pandemic and Brexit. With retail margins on consumer tyres already very fine, the wholesale sector has been key in keeping price increases under control, especially considering the spiralling cost of shipping. But as those in the sector know, the value wholesalers add within the distribution chain is a considerably wider subject than purely price. Arguably, the service dimension has never been more important than in the last 18 months, as retail businesses adapted to a market transformed by externalities. Tyres & Accessories asked Graham Mitchell, Micheldever Tyre Services wholesale director, about how the business is faring in 2021, starting with its performance this year.
Michelin sustainability award entry ‘head and shoulders above rest’ – NTDA
Michelin’s successful entry for the Tyre Industry Environment and Sustainable Solution Award 2021 “stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of corporate ambition, vision and practical commercial initiatives across the whole field of tyre recycling, materials reuse and wider environmental campaigns,” according to the judging panel, NTDA chief executive Stefan Hay commented. The tyre manufacturer’s entry for the award highlighted its aim to create greater value at all stages within the circular economy.
STARCO Huanmei moves wheel production to new plant
STARCO Huanmei, a wheel manufacturing operation in China founded in 2007 as a joint venture with Kenda, is moving to an entirely new production facility that provides the scope to greatly increase output. The new plant is located in Zhejiang Province, some three hours away from Shanghai. Following a traditional Chinese opening ceremony two weeks ago, STARCO anticipates the factory achieving full operation by mid-October.
Goodyear announces Q3 TruckForce Service Excellence awardees
Earlier this year, Goodyear debuted its TruckForce Service Excellence Award. The initial round of honours and those following in the second quarter of the year saw a total of ten network partners, including two in the UK, awarded for their exemplary service and performance. Goodyear has now announced its TruckForce Service Excellence Award winners for the third quarter of 2021 and has acknowledged a further five partners who “share a goal to deliver high performance and initiatives that benefit their commercial fleet customers.”
Bridgestone Corporation has applied to have its shares delisted from the Nagoya Stock Exchange. Explaining the rationale behind this move, the company notes that it is currently listed on three stock exchanges in Japan – Tokyo, Nagoya and Fukuoka. In order to reduce the management costs and streamline management operations related to duplicate listings, it has decided to delist from the Nagoya Stock Exchange.
While almost every automotive business has been affected by current world events, for wheel manufacturers, a ‘perfect storm’ of global trading conditions has created a challenging trading period. Tyres & Accessories recently heard from Dave McMillan, sales director for Wheelwright, one of Britain’s longest standing manufacturer and retail names, who gave us an insight into how the company is coping with a new raft of logistical and financial travails.
Sinochem Holdings, the entity who through its China National Tire & Rubber subsidiary has a controlling stake in Pirelli and Aeolus Tyre as well as a substantial shareholding in Prometeon Tyre Group, has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China Cosco Shipping intended to “guarantee the security and stability” of its industry and supply chain.
For the fourth time this year, Yokohama Off-Highway Tires (YOHT) is increasing prices for its products. In announcing the new pricing that will be applied from 1 December, YOHT stresses it has sought to keep the increases in 2021 “lower than the industry average” by itself absorbing “the major part” of the “dramatically rising cost for raw materials and freight” rather than pass these additional costs on to customers.
First within, now beyond the tyre: Michelin extends ResiCare remit
Michelin has expressed a wish to branch out “beyond the tyre” for a number of years. To this end, the company reports that after four years of technical and industrial development, its ResiCare subsidiary has found an initial commercial outlet for its high-performance responsible adhesive.
Autogem ‘an indispensable aftermarket partner’ – Tyre Industry Awards 2021
Autogem has been praised as “an indispensable partner in the aftermarket to a great number of businesses” following its victory in the Tyre Industry Awards 2021 Aftermarket Equipment Supplier of the Year category. The UK provider of automotive chemicals, fasteners, hand tools, workshop consumables, and TPMS solutions was recognised for its adaptation during the pandemic as well as its investment in products and training support.
Bridgestone Tyre Industry Awards double ‘a huge coup’
The two Tyre Industry Awards presented to Bridgestone during the National Tyre Distributors Associations 7 October ceremony represent a “huge coup” for the company according to Andrea Manenti, North Europe region vice president. The manufacturer said the awards were the result of its recently launched “best-in-class new products” and its “commitment to a sustainable future and staff training.” Bridgestone was presented with the Staff Training & Development accolade and the headline Tyre Manufacturer of the Year award – the fourth time they have triumphed in the category since 2015 – at a packed International Convention Centre in Birmingham.
GRI continues Green X Circle with tree planting project
Last Friday was an important day for GRI in regards to its environmental engagements – the Sri Lankan tyre maker launched its ‘Greening Our Planet’ project by planting 450 rubber trees at smallholder rubber farms in Moneragala District.